There's more to the race between Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz in Texas
Democrat Beto O'Rourke is in a tight race with Senator Ted Cruz, for a seat in the United States Senate. Some polling shows that Beto is or has been within 4 points of Ted Cruz, and that represents a tantalizing chance to remove one of the most powerful and onerous Republicans in the Senate. Real Clear Politics has Cruz at +6.8 in their average of the polls, but I still think there is a chance of an upset.
I watched the debate between O'Rourke and here is what I saw. Cruz is a dinosaur. The only things that Cruz has to offer are oil, gas, coal and tax cuts for very wealthy people who don't need them. Just ask Warren Buffet and Abigail Disney. They will both tell you that the tax cuts passed in December didn't create new jobs or raise salaries. But they will tell you that those tax cuts were great early Christmas presents for people who will just shuck that money away in the Cayman Islands or corporations who will buyback their stock. For proof, economist Dean Baker notes that since the last tax cut came into effect, there has been a near zero bump in investment spending by business, and he's not the only one.
That's all we'll ever hear about from Cruz: oil, gas, coal and did you like the tax cuts we just passed for you? Oh, and he's going to remind you that they're still working on the total and complete annihilation of Obamacare. Really. They are.
On the other side, Beto was talking up Medicare For All. He was talking up renewable energy. He was talking up immigration reform. He kept it positive, like he'd been a Bernie Sanders How To Run A Positive Campaign workshop. And now Beto is within 6 points of Cruz. For most polling, that's close to the margin of error.
But there is trouble on the horizon. In Texas, they're closing polling places. They're putting restrictions on early voting. And Cruz tacitly approves because hey, we can't have too many people voting, right?
We know this because Ted Cruz was one of the principle players involved in the effort to stop the Florida vote recount in the Supreme Court case, Bush vs. Gore. Cruz helped put George Bush into the White House nearly 18 years ago. This is something we should know about Ted Cruz. Not only does he prefer lower turnouts, he prefers lower vote counts. That's a funny thing about Republicans. They tend to do better when the turnout is low and they're counting on Democrats to stay home.
Now far be it for me to promote identity politics. Identity politics is dead. If you're going to vote, vote for the policies, not the party or the identity. I just happen to like the policies promoted by some Democrats more than I like those promoted by Republicans. This is especially true since Bernie Sanders ran for president.
See, Bernie was promoting truly inclusive policies, policies that are designed to work for everyone. I don't get that message from Republicans, even if they talk the talk, but they tend not to walk the walk. I'm still thinking of the Southern Strategy here, and now that I know how that got started and who is carrying that mantle today, when I think of inclusion, I think Democrats and Greens.
If you're worried about the voting machines like I am, vote by absentee ballot. If you're worried about the authorities shutting down polling places, vote by absentee ballot. If you're worried about long lines, attend to early voting.
There are some interesting lessons to be learned in life, and happily, many of us get to choose the lessons we want to learn. When a political party depends on shutting down polling places, unnecessarily restricting voting times, and purging people from the voting records, they are not relying upon the merits of their policy preferences to win elections. But, they need the voters to give them the feedback required to know the policy preferences of the people they represent. Or maybe they don't.
There is another reason that inclusiveness is important to me. A member of Congress, the statehouse, or the school district represents everyone in the district they represent. I don't get that from Republicans. They seem to think, based on their statements, that they only represent the people who voted for them. The rest, well, they can stuff it. Right?
I saw that with Trump. I saw that with Kavanaugh. I saw that with the Republican obsession with repealing Obamacare. The message is, we have the power, and we're going to do what we want to do. Just give us a chance to prove that our ideas work. Really, they'll work. Just you watch. Anyone remember the bank bailout of 2008? How about the tax cuts of 2017? Lead zeppelin. I don't see very many Republicans talking them up because they weren't for 99% of us.
Beto O'Rourke mentioned many times during his debate with Ted Cruz that he works across the aisle with the Republicans for public policy. He has a reputation for working across the aisle, and three newspapers in Texas have endorsed Beto and mentioned that he works across the aisle in their endorsements. I think Cruz mentioned how he works across the aisle during the debate but once.
If you live in Texas and you're a Democrat, and you want someone who represents all of the people, not just the Christians, not just the wealthy, not just the private school that you can't afford, then Beto is your man. If you're still not happy that George W. Bush managed to occupy the White House for 8 long years, you can thank Ted Cruz for his effrontery, I mean, his efforts, to put Bush in there.
If you want your voice to be heard, you must vote. Not just in Texas, not just in your town, you must vote for the nation. I did. I sent in my absentee ballot. It's got a paper record. The odds of the Post Office failing to deliver that envelope are somewhat remote. The postage is free. And if you don't have an absentee ballot, vote early, or get another one from the county seat. If you're determined, you can vote, one way or another.